Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Medieval Kitchen and Herb Garden - Marksburg Castle, Braubach Germany

Marksburg Castle was built about 1117 but is first mentioned in 1231.  It sits on a hill above the town of Braubach, Germany with a beautiful view from the east bank of the Rhine River.  It is the only castle on the Rhine River that has never been destroyed.  Other than the additions and maintenance over the centuries Marksburg Castle remains pretty much as it was when it served its original function as the fortified residence of some of the most powerful families of the time.  In its earliest years, it was supported through tolls that were levied upon those traveling on the river.

While walking along the outer wall of the Upper Bailey, which is a small courtyard or walkway within the walls of the castle, I discovered the herb garden!  

This is a unique medieval herb garden consisting of two patches of about 160 plants from the Medieval Ages. Many of the plants are important for their medicinal effects while others are used for seasoning by the cook.  Some herbs like the mandragora (mandrake) or the jimson weed were used by witches.  The deadly nightshade and the hemlock grown in the garden are very toxic.  

The next courtyard gave entry to the wine cellar.

Wine has been the traditional drink, since Roman times.  Because castle water was impure, wine was the liquid used by the knights to get fluids.  The wine of the time was less alcoholic than today's beer. The pitchers on the wall in the upper right photo show what was the daily allotment. The bellows were part of the barrel's filtering system. The wine cellar was improved in the 17th century.  The wine press dates to 1767.

In the top left photo you see the Gothic Great Hall built in 1435.  The hall serves as the castle kitchen as well as the gathering spot for those looking for company, food and drink.  The large fireplace is designed so that a whole steer or ox could be grilled.

I love the well worn butcher block as well as the window seat by one window at the top of the photo and a "sink" by the window at the bottom.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of Marksburg Castle's Kitchen and Herb Garden!  

Today is Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer.  Thank you, Susan, for hosting. I am excited to share this adventure with everyone!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Steak and Guinness Pie

I had never had Steak and Guinness Pie.  In fact, I had never heard of it until my son-in-law was in a cooking contest and the ingredient that had to be in the recipe was Guinness Beer.  When my daughter told me he made Steak and Guinness Pie and won first place, my thought was how cool, what in the world in Steak and Guinness Pie.  I actually think she said Guinness Pie and I couldn't imagine beer pie!

Regardless, I read through numerous recipes and thought I knew what I was going to do until I saw Diane's post at 2 Stews.  Not only did her stew have beer, it had wine and beef broth.  I think that the wine smoothed out the gravy...oh, yes, it did!  I have never seen a recipe on Diane's blog that I didn't like!  You really must visit her.  She shares her many travels with her readers:  museums, antique shops, restaurants, recipes, you name it!  Stop by, you won't be disappointed.

I did alter the recipe just a little.  I had a tri-tip steak in the refrigerator so I used that instead of chuck roast and since I have never met a carrot that I didn't like, I added carrots to the mix.  I loved having mashed potatoes on the side.

Steak and Guinness Pie
adapted from 2 Stews

Yield:  About 6 cups; Serves 4-6

1 1/4 pounds tri-tip steak, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced

3-4 carrots, peeled, sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence or equivalent mixture of herbs
1 cup (8 ounces) Guinness Extra Stout beer
1 cup dry red wine
15 ounces beef broth
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon butter, softened
salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen

Preheat oven:  400°

In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the beef and sear until it is brown on all sides. Add the chopped onion, mushrooms, and carrots lower the heat to medium and continue cooking until the onion is translucent and the mushrooms are done. 

Stir in the garlic and cook about a minute more. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves and herbes de Provence, stirring until well blended. Pour in the beer, wine, and beef broth, stirring well. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half. The meat should be very tender.  Take off the cover and taste for richness. If it needs more flavor and reducing, simmer for a short while longer uncovered.

In a small bowl, work the flour into the butter to form a ball. Stir the butter/flour mixture well into the simmering stew to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste. At this point you may cool the stew and refrigerate to use later. If serving right away spoon into a casserole or casseroles, and top with a layer of puff pastry. Brush the pastry with milk or beaten egg for added color, and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown. Serve with vegetables on the side.

Makes about 6 cups.
Serves 4-6.


This was such a lovely, flavorful meal.  The leftovers are great, too. 

We ate the whole thing!   It was amazing.

I am sending this to The Saturday Evening Pot for Make a Food-"e"-Friend Mondays!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Becomes Cupcakes!

If you are a fan of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream you know that taking the two best ingredients, cookies and cream, and using them to create a cupcake is going to be fabulous.  With the first taste, I was ready to sing from the highest mountain...so that "WOW!" would echo across the valley.  I kid you not, these were wonderful!

When I first saw the recipe at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen, I knew that I was going to be making them. If you have never visited Brenda's blog, it is a must.  She is a wonderful cook and always has something exciting to share.

I did have to adapt the recipe just a bit I used half and half instead of milk.  I was fresh out of milk and it somehow didn't get on my shopping list....

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
adapted from Brenda's Canadian Kitchen

Yield: 24 cupcakes

24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup half and half
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I used the remaining cookie half.)
For garnish:
Oreo cookie crumbs (Made with the remaining four cookie halves.)
24 Mini Oreo cookies
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. 

Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. 

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. 

With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the half and half and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the coarsely chopped Oreos until evenly incorporated, be careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 T half and half  (Use additional to get the right consistency to pipe the frosting, about 3-4 total.)
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add half and half and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
Makes about 3 cups of frosting.
Source:  adapted from Wilton
Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with mini Oreos.

These are wonderful cupcakes....very rich.  I kept four cupcakes and sent twenty with the Kitchen Gnome to an evening activity.  

It would be way too dangerous to keep them all at home!  It is much better to share with others!

I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum, Fat Camp Friday hosted by Miranda at Mangoes and Chutney, and Sweet Tooth Friday hosted by Allison.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cottontop Cactus

The Cottontop Cactus is found on the slopes in Titus Canyon in Death Valley. 
They can have as many as forty to sixty heads in a cluster!

The name cottontop is in reference to the white tufts of cotton-like hairs that surround the yellow flowers on the top of each head.  

The yellow flowers do not appear until July-August, which makes the Cottontop Cactus the latest blooming cacti in the area.

Outdoor Wednesday is hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.  Stop by and visit the outdoor excursions being shared!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mint Chocolate Pixies - A Popular Blog Post!

Sometimes there are recipes that seem to float from blog to blog and Chocolate Pixies just happens to be one of them.  I first saw the recipe on Pam's blog, For the Love of Cooking, and when I glanced at the recipe my eyes stopped...chocolate and peppermint!  What could be better, I ask?  Break out the mixer!  I just happened to have everything on hand!

Pam's recipe is a variation of another Chocolate Pixie recipe that can be found at My Tasty Treasures and Kitchens Are Monkey Business.  The recipe sounds equally as delicious but the original does not include peppermint but includes nuts.  For me, I am stickin' with the peppermint sans the nuts!

I think the cookies vaporized coming out of the oven!  They disappeared so fast...they had a bit of a crunch on the outside and were soft on the inside. They were perfect!  I couldn't stop eating them....

Mint Chocolate Pixies

4 1 oz squares of UNSWEETENED chocolate

1/4 cup of unsalted butter

4 large eggs

2 cups of white sugar

2 tsp of vanilla extract

2 tsp of peppermint extract

2 cups of flour

2 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of salt

1/4 cup of powdered sugar

Melt the butter and chocolate in a large glass bowl in the microwave.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating at medium speed. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl - mix thoroughly. Slowly add the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture beating at low speed until well blended. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Shape the dough into small balls then roll in powdered sugar. Place the balls on a silpat covered baking sheet.
Bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. 


Did you know that it is possible to get a tummy ache from eating too many at once?  
It didn't hold me back...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Beggar's Linguine

Pistachios, almonds, figs, raisins, and orange zest on pasta....sounds intriguing and I was eager to find out just how all those good things could come together and become a savory pasta dish called Beggar's Linguine from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan!   Dorie talks about arriving at a restaurant thirty seconds before closing and begging to be served...she was served Linguine Mendiant.  (Mendiant translates to beggar.) Cute, but not how the dish got its name.  

Dorie explained further....the name usually describes a chocolate bonbon topped with dried fruits and nuts.  The fruits and nuts on the candies were chosen originally to represent the four mendicant monastic orders:  dried figs for the Franciscans, raisins for the Dominicans, hazelnuts for the Augustinians, and almonds for the Carmelites.  Today one can find pistachios or walnuts, dried apricots or lemon zest or whatever the chocolatier selects.

So, this becomes a savory pasta dish by adding browned butter and Parmesan.

For French Friday's with Dorie everybody was preparing Beggar's Linguine. I am game for just about anything but I wasn't certain...I had to cut the recipe back to serve just one on this evening.  

I must admit, I had no trouble enjoying each and every bite....maybe it was the browned butter that sold me, not certain but I am glad that I tried this dish.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cottage Pie with Beef, Carrots and Party Potatoes!

I learned something new today.  I learned the difference between Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie.  There is not much difference except for the meat.  Shepherd's Pie is made with lamb and Cottage Pie is made with beef.  So, last year my Shepherd's Pie was really Cottage Pie!  (We don't eat much lamb at our house, in fact, I have never prepared lamb.  My neighbor, on the other hand, makes wonderful lamb.  Her recipe is here.)  Back to topic...cottage pie originated as a way to use up leftover beef stew.  Today, it is made from scratch as well as leftovers!

Cottage Pie with Beef, Carrots 
and Party Potatoes!

Yield:  Serves six to eight
Preheat oven:  350°

For the stew:
1 3/4 cups low-salt beef stock
6 oz. Porcini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2-3 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
2 1/2 lb. top round steaks, trim fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dry vermouth

For the topping:
2 lb russet potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
Kosher salt
5 Tbs unsalted butter
4 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
4-5 Tbs vermouth

Make the stew:
Heat 2 Tbs of oil in heavy dutch oven over medium high heat.  Pat the steaks dry, season lightly with Kosher salt and pepper.  Sear the steaks, flipping once, until nicely browned.  Remove the steaks to a platter and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining oil if needed.  Add the carrots, celery, onions, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper and cook.  Stir occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for a few minutes.  Add the flour, stirring to blend,and cook for another minute.  Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to low.  Add mushrooms.  Slowly add the beef stock.

Cut the steaks into small cubes and add to the pot, along with any juices.  Cover tightly and transfer to the oven.  Cook, stirring once or twice, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set stew aside.  Increase over temperature to 375°

Make the topping:
About 30 minutes before the stew is ready, put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover by an inch with cold water.  Add 1 tsp Kosher salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, partially cover, and simmer until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.  Drain.

With an electric mixer, mash potatoes; add 3 Tbs unsalted butter, cream cheese, and sour cream.  Beat until fluffy.  Add vermouth and season to taste.

Assemble the pie:
Lightly butter a shallow 3 quart baking dish.  Spoon the stew into the baking dish.  Spoon the potatoes on top of the stew in an even layer.  Dot the top with the remaining butter.  Sprinkle chopped chives on top.  Bake at 375° until the stew is bubbling around the sides and the top is lightly browned, about 35-45 minutes.


The Kitchen Gnome and I loved this dish!  It was delicious!

I am joining Kathleen at Cuisine Kathleen for her third St. Patrick's Day Blog Crawl.  Thank you Kathleen!  My daughter reminded me that there is a difference between England and Ireland and that my dish was leaning toward English...yep, it is.....I need to start earlier.  The Steak and Guinness Pie that I was making hasn't happened as yet!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Would You Like a Muffin...a Butternut Squash Muffin?

Could I serve you a muffin?  
Would you like some tea to go with it?  
Can you sit down for a minute to visit?

When I retired I thought I would have tons of time and get so much done...not so.   I cannot figure out where the time goes!  Maybe I should ask, "How in the world did I get everything done and work too?"
Yep, that is a better question.

Part of the answer is that I have allowed myself to get out of high gear...I can shift down a gear.  I no longer feel that I must be "on the run".  I can take extra time to look through the magazine or bake....which is new, I rarely baked!  I never really took the time as it seemed the time had to go toward another project, laundry, cleaning, driving children from point A to point B.

It is different now.  I get everything done and I have added extra things to do!  I like having time to appreciate doing all of the things that I rushed through while I was "growing up".  Being retired is great!

That said, I had time to make muffins!  
I had time to leaf through the magazines and cookbooks, explore Food Network, and not feel rushed!

I had a couple of recipes that I was considering and decided on one by Jamie Oliver from Jamie At Home.  The muffins were like a carrot cake minus the carrot!  They were moist, light and delicious.  It doesn't have to be breakfast to eat a muffin.  It seemed that every time somebody walked past the platter, a muffin came up missing!

Butternut Squash Muffins with a Frosty Top
adapted from Jamie At Home

Yield:  About 12 muffins

For the muffin:
14 ounces butternut squash, skin on, seeds removed and roughly chopped
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
Sea salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Topping
1 clementine or mandarin, zested
1 lemon, zested (I used a meyer lemon.)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup sour cream
2 heaping Tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°
Line muffin tins with paper cups.

Using a food processor, finely chop the butternut squash.  Add the sugar and eggs.  Add a pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and olive oil and mix, in the processor, until beaten. It should be just combined.  Do not over mix.

Fill the paper cups with the muffin mixture.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Check for doneness with a toothpick or knife.  It should come out clean if the muffins are done.  If they are done, remove them from the oven.  If not add a few more minutes baking time.  Recheck.  Cool the muffins on a wire rack.

While the muffins are baking, make the topping.  The mixture will be a little runny.  Place most of the clementine or mandarin zest, all the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a bowl.  Add the sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Mix well.  Taste and adjust lemon juice or powdered sugar to get the balance of sweet and sour that you prefer.  Put the mixture into the refrigerator until the muffins are cooled, then spoon the topping onto the muffins.


I hope you have time to enjoy a cup of tea and share a muffin with a friend!  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Curried Cauliflower Soup

When I was a little girl I was fascinated with the way that the cauliflower florets all came together to make such creamy white clusters and then a head.  At first glance it appears solid but inside is a maze of tiny little branches.  It is one of my favorite vegetables.  I was happy that cauliflower, along with leeks and carrots have been in our weekly vegetable and fruit basket for the last few weeks!

At the same time, I received an email from the Tasting Table and William Sonoma Sous Chef Series.  Each month a sous chef from a popular restaurant around the country is featured along with a recipe and demonstration.   It has been fun.   In February, Chef Chris Bradley former Executive Sous Chef of Gramercy Tavern was featured along with a recipe for Curried Cauliflower Soup!  I love it when things come together so nicely!

We loved the soup and the leftover soup!  The layers of flavors in the soup accompanied by the flavorful yogurt and lime drizzle on top...totally wonderful!!

I checked out a number of recipes to compare ingredients and decided that the first time out....I should just do it as written.

Curried Cauliflower Soup
by chef Chris Bradley
Gramercy Tavern, New York

Yield:  4 servings (Very generous servings...)

2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets (about 10 cups)
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 leek, white and light green parts only, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 large carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp mild curry powder
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek Yogurt)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Reserve for garnish:  1 cup of the small cauliflower florets, 1/4 cup of onion, 1/4 cup of leeks and 1/4 cup of carrots.

In a large pot, warm 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the remaining onion, leek and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have begun to soften, about 6 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and cook until soft, about 10 minutes longer.

In a small skillet over medium-high heat, combine the coriander and cumin seeds and toast until they are fragrant and slightly browned, about 2 minutes.  In a piece of cheesecloth, combine the toasted seeds and the cilantro and tie into a bundle, securing it with a piece of kitchen twine.  Add the spice bundle, turmeric, curry powder and garlic to the vegetables in the pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes.  Remove the cheesecloth bundle, then puree the soup until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I used my hand blender to puree the soup.) Keep the soup warm in the pot.

In a large skillet, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Add the reserved cauliflower, onion, leek and carrots and cook until the vegetables are just tender and lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and reserve.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil and lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the hot soup among 6 deep bowls, garnish with the reserved vegetables and drizzle with the yogurt mixture.  Serve immediately.


We had the soup with Savory Cheese and Chive Bread.  I was a lovely meal!

I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum.  Hop on over and see what wonderful dishes are being prepared this week!

I am also linking to Fat Camp Friday hosted by Miranda at Mangoes and Chutney.

This recipe was shared at Make a Food-"e"-Friend Monday at The Saturday Evening Pot.  Join the celebration among Foodies of our love for food.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pancetta Green Beans

We had some wonderful green beans with dinner last week.  The recipe was from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  The addition of the pancetta was a treat!  They were to be finished with a drizzle of Walnut Oil.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find Walnut Oil in any of the stores...I know there must be a store in town that carries it, but I gave up.  

I decided that I would use one of the olive oils that my sister-in-law brought me when she returned from Italy.  I love them and ration them!!  I used a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Truffle.  The beans were delicious and very simple. They will appear on my table again!

The beans were the perfect accompaniment to the Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port!  Yum!  

I know it is not Friday and it is not February but I am bringing up the rear on the February posts for French Fridays with Dorie.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The First Wildflower!

I took the dog for a walk in the fields near our home and found the first wildflowers of the season!

Hurray for the Lupine!

Hurray for Outdoor Wednesday!
Thank you Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for hosting!

Thank you Mr. Groundhog!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lemon Yogurt Cake Revisited, Again

Recently, I revisited a favorite recipe, Lemon Yogurt Cake.  A friend gave us a bag of lemons from their tree...when given lemons one must make something and cake sounded so much better than lemonade!

I think I have made this cake about six or seven times.  We absolutely love it...for a snack, for breakfast, for dessert...anytime!  The sweet, tangy lemon flavor just bursts forth with every bite...it is soft, moist, and is, well, wonderful!!  I need to share with somebody...the cake and the recipe!

It is a Barefoot Contessa recipe from her cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home and is a definite winner!  There is one thing you must never do, though,....do not use purchased lemon juice!!  I did once when I was short lemons...it was NOT the same.  Fresh lemons are a must!

Lemon Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
(I used Greek Yogurt)
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze

1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 C. lemon juice and remaining 1/3 C. sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

You won't regret making this one...especially, if you like lemons!

I am participating in the first Celebrity Cook Along at Happier Than A Pig in Mud.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Savory Cheese and Chive Bread

I made a wonderful bread this week...it does look delicious, doesn't it?  It was a savory bread that I served with soup. The edges were crusty and the inside was soft and flavorful.  We loved it.  

The recipe for Savory Cheese and Chive Bread is from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Around My French Table.  I am so glad that the group was making this bread....it motivated me!  I am having so much fun participating in French Friday's with Dorie.  I have tried a number of dishes that I probably would not have tried on my own.  After trying them I have decided that I really should become more adventurous!

The recipe is pretty flexible as you can select the cheeses that you prefer or, as suggested in the recipe, you could use up all of those little random pieces of cheese that end up in the fridge.  You may even choose to use another herb, if you like.  I choose gruyere and emmantal cheeses.  Why?  Well, I love Swiss cheese and I love fondue and those are the two that come together in cheese fondue, so...how's that for a reason?  When I make the bread again I will use cheddar and something...not certain what the second cheese will be as yet.  It was too good not to make a second time!

Dorie suggests that the bread could be an appetizer, cut into "sticks" and served with wine.  We tried that in the evening.  It was a perfect pairing with wine!  It was a perfect pairing with my soup!

If you are interested in seeing the recipe and you haven't added the cookbook to your library, the recipe is here....the Washington Post has it on their site.

I am also participating in Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum.

You must try the bread...we loved it!